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Former Bears coach Jim Dooley dies at 77

Jan. 9, 2008 at 1:13 PM

CHICAGO, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Jim Dooley, who coached the Chicago Bears through three tough seasons and later returned as an assistant coach, has died at 77 of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Dooley had suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for the past 10 years, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. He died Tuesday at Lake Forest Hospital outside Chicago.

Dooley's wife, Elaine, called him "a Bear to the end." She said when he was no longer able to get to games he would watch his team on TV, barking orders at the players.

The first person to coach the Bears after George Halas, Dooley led the team from 1968 through 1971. He endured one of the Bears' worst seasons ever in 1969, when they went 1-13, beating only the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team having an equally bad year.

''Jim just never had the talent around him, and we never had the quarterback,'' said former Bears linebacker Doug Buffone. ''You have to give him his due. He knew the game inside and out."

Dooley, a star at the University of Miami, was a first-round draft pick for the Bears in 1952. He served as wide receiver and defensive coach under Halas.

In 1981, Dooley returned to the team, remaining until 1990.

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